|My family at Comerica Park, 2011|
Photo Credit: Sandy Gresko
So even as our teams are succeeding, the thoughts of Michiganders near and far never stray for too long from the challenges faced by our beloved Motown.
Detroit writer and radio host Pat Caputo writes of the ability of the city's sports teams to bring healing. From CNN.com:
"History has shown that when the city's sports teams start doing well, it's a sign of healing in Detroit. In 1968, when the Tigers won the World Series, it brought a racially divided region together after race riots. In 1984, the local economy rebounded from the recession at the same time the Tigers again won the World Series. To read Caputo's full article please click here.
What makes 2011 different? The Tigers' magical summer is being followed by a surprisingly solid performance from the usually underperforming Lions, behind a triple threat of quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
It's not just that the Lions are winning but how they're doing it. They were down 20 points against the Minnesota Vikings on the road September 25 and then, the following Sunday, down 24 points against the Cowboys on the road.
The Lions won both games, representing the city's come-from-behind spirit and fight to win in the midst of adversity.
This tenacity is not lost on [Jim] Schwartz, the [Lions'] coach, who has seen the Lions at their worst and now their best.
"When I became the Lions coach, it didn't take me long to understand what the team means to the people here," Schwartz said. "No matter how bad it has been, they have never stopped caring. They are vocal but never apathetic. It's like a lawn that has been dormant. It just takes one good watering, and it's back."
Eminem's tag line in January's Chrysler ad -- "that's who we are. That's our story" -- sums up the motivation for these teams who know that the wins are helping Detroit's image and giving residents a sense of hope and pride that's been missing.
It seems that Detroit is back -- for now."